Poetic Interpretation Of The Moral Values In The Poetry By Akhmed Dzhachaev


The article explores the image of a woman-mother based on the material of poetic texts of the national poet of the Republic of Dagestan, A. M. Dzhachaev. «Maternal poetry» is deeply and figuratively presented in the works of A. M. Dzhachaev. The author in various forms gives the image of the mother: he devoted many poems to the difficult fate of the mother, the relationship between mother and child both during infancy and in adulthood. The article notes the versatility and instructive nature of A.M. Dzhachaev; the poet is attentive to poetics, conveying the full range of feelings and authorial experiences. Poems are dedicated to the image of the mother, addressed to children of the senior school age, and cover the interests of their representatives: parents, teachers, and all who are not indifferent to the moral and ethical standards of generations of «fathers» and «children» of the 21st century. The problems that A. M. Dzhachaev raises are especially relevant in the modern world, since the author demonstrates not only the close relationship between a mother and a child. He also attracts the readers’ attention to the fundamental components in order for this connection to be unbreakable. He considers the problems of ungrateful children, condemns callousness and openly expresses grief for the loss of a mother.

Keywords: Akhmed Dzhachaev, mother’s image, moral education


In modern society, the problems of moral education are especially relevant. The personal qualities are formed on the basis of principles embedded from early childhood, namely in the mother's word. With the mother's milk, the child absorbs the basics of the system of moral values, and purposefully learns the wonderful world only after growing up. Fiction is a unique developmental and educational tool that provides the younger generation with not only a rich language environment, but also a platform for parents to work on the spiritual and ethical education and development of their children. The formation of the personality of a child, adolescent, youth is a creative process in which authors of literary works participate indirectly: the system of images that they create «superimpose» on the surrounding world of the growing person acts. In fiction, the image of mother occupies a special place, because “mother in various linguistic cultures is the personification of the source of heat, comfort, protection, care, kindness, love” (Nurgalina & Zulkurnaeva, 2016, p. 55). So, in Russia, it was considered a cultural symbol that has not lost its high value since ancient times, and retains its significance to the present day. Dagestan people, who at all times considered a woman to be a giver of life, comfort, warmth and harmony, are not exception. Love and reverence for the image of a «mother-woman» are reflected in numerous proverbs and sayings. ‘Mother is the spring of life (Ana – yashavnu yazbashy)’, the Kumyk proverb says.

The Kumyk poets, who gave a special role to the image of mother in their work, did not remain indifferent. The paradigm of the image of mother in Dagestan poetry is successively connected with the folk tradition and originated from wedding and funeral songs. The theme of mother occupies one of the dominant places in the modern Kumyk poetry. Appeal to this priceless image to one degree or another is characteristic of all Kumyk poets. In Kumyk children's poetry, the inextricable relationship between mother and child is widely represented in the works of A.A. Medzhidov, A.A. Ataev, I.Kh. Asekov, N.Z. Baibolatov, Sh.-Kh. Alisheva and many others.

In A. M. Dzhachaev's poetry, it is a burning theme, for the disclosure of which the poet uses all the richness of the Kumyk language and his priceless life experience. Poems devoted to the mother’s image by A.M. Dzhachaev don’t nurture in a conventional way, they are presented in the form of vivid examples from life, the reader hears the voice of the poet, reading each line, sees a mother's smile and feels the salt of mother's poignant tears. In poetry, the process of creation of new meanings through the medium of imagination is more innovative in terms of conjoining semantic fields and production of semantic shock. The level of creativity of imagination involved in creation of meanings can be discussed by examining metaphors in poetry (Zalipour, 2010). The main gift of Dzhachaev (2000) is a rich imagination, in which the modern world is metaphorically painted in lines. His «weapons» are artistic and stylistic devices that the poet skillfully uses to fight against injustice. With their help the author demonstrates his truth, writes about the things that afflict him and expresses awe to the one thanks to whom he was born.

Problem Statement

The problem of this research is to trace the artistic and stylistic features of the works about the mother of the Dagestan poet Akhmed Dzhachaev; aims at revealing their moral and ethical significance and considering the thematic diversity of the poetic texts of this author. The article first regards the works of national poet Dzhachaev (2001) dedicated to the relation to a mother, which determines the level of a cultural development of society, its ethical values and spiritual wealth.

Research Questions

On the Unity of «Mother and Baby» in the Period of Breastfeeding in the Poetry of A.M. Dzhachaev

The word «mother» is special, because she gives life to everyone. According to Goncharov (1988), the role of the mother is immutable and does not depend on the kind of relationship between mother and child after one’s birth: Everything can happen. But no changes, even the most incredible ones, can make us “reconsider” the role and significance of the person who gave us life. Mother is out of the row; her place in our life is very especial, exclusive. Motherhood goes beyond the ordinary forms of human relationships – professional, friendly, and so on. And at the same time it contains all their seeds, because the mother carries the idea of man (Goncharov, 1988).

The internal relationship between mother and child is exceptional; thanks to it motherly love is selfless and capable of heroic deeds. Literature for children is inconceivable without this bright image and in modern Kumyk children's poetry; the theme of mother occupies one of the dominant places. Almost every Kumyk poet at least once in his work turned to this priceless image, and these works are permeated with notes of comfort and warmth emanating from their heroines. The main idea of the works written by Kumyk authors for children is to instill in them a feeling of gratitude and love for mothers, for their parents, to teach them to be responsible for their actions. Poet writing for children has a huge responsibility. The little reader is imbued with unconditional trust, because he has not yet had time to learn all the difficulties of life inherent in the world of adults. Children are alien to criticism, they do not tend to analyze poetry, and they perceive everything as it is (Akamov et al., 2019).

Fiction, like a mother, accompanies and brings a person up from the first years of his life. It discovers and explains to the child the life of society and nature, the world of human feelings and relationships. As a person grows up, his problems grow along with him, but the book is exactly the space where one can find answers to many burning questions.

The poetry of the national poet of Dagestan, Dzhachaev (2015), covers many ethical issues of modern society, but the poet assigns an important role in his work to the image of the mother and reveals it in a multifaceted way. A well-known philologist, literary critic, one of the best experts on German romanticism in Eastern Europe, Doctor of Philological Sciences Kamil Khanmurzaev stated, “Poems by A. Dzhachaev are full of moral adherence. In the midst of today's cultural turmoil and discord, when it became fashionable to boast of serving everything doubtful and cultivate all kinds of offensive deviations and eccentricities, just to be considered original, when the culture is ready to service the devil himself, Akhmed Dzhachaev essentially chooses good, clarity, reason, cult of everything time-tested and illuminated by tradition. And how could it be otherwise, if the poet from the very beginning declares: “After all, I was born of a good mother”…” (Dzhachaev, 2015, p. 15).

Dzhachaev is faithful to the high principles of honor that underlie his original poems published in poetry collections published in his native language: «Before the Road», «The Roads», «Love Doesn’t Forgive», «The Humming of the Ear», «I live among you», «Mother and Child», «My Beloved», « Native Language is the Golden Treasure», «The Mother’s Heart » и many others.

The cycle of poems «The Mother’s Heart» («Ana yurek») was included in the Selected Works in three volumes in the Kumyk language and published in 2001. There the author appeals to the diverse problems, but focuses the reader's attention on the section «The Mother’s Heart».

The child’s attitude to himself and the world around him begins to be laid in the maternal womb and is further formed from the experience of communicating with the mother in the «mother-child» dyad. English psychoanalyst, pediatrician and child psychiatrist Donald Woods Winnicott writes about breastfeeding: “it is not just the beginning of feeding – it is the beginning of an object relationship. All relations of this new human being with the real world will be based on how it all began, and on patterns that will gradually form on the basis of the experience of the very first human relationships – between the child and his mother” (Winnicott, 1998, p. 97). According to Dzhachaev, through the mother’s milk, the child «hears» the thoughts of his mother, becomes attached to her and feels all the love and warmth:

Ana emchek beregende yashyna,

Az hadirgyun tuvmaj onu bashyna,

Bashg"a tyugyul, ya k"yz bolsun, ya ulan,

Bala og"ar basylyna bal bulan (Dzhachaev, 2001).

When a mother breastfeeds her child,

It brings her a lot of happiness,

It doesn't matter if it's a boy or a girl,

He / like / with honey is pressed to her.

(Here and further translation of the author of the article)

Thanks to a diversity of expressive means and stylistic devices, the poet conveys his feelings. He manages to form the necessary attitude of readers about the strength of the mother and the feeding process as a whole: Basylyna bal bulan, / with honey is pressed to her – metaphor; K"ysg"a geche k"yrk" tursa da k"ajyrmaj / Doesn't mind if a short night turns into forty nights – hyperbola. At the end of the work A. M. Dzhachaev repeats the phrase Ana emchek beregende yashyna, / When a mother breastfeeds her child, – to focus the reader's attention on the main idea.

The process of breastfeeding a baby is thoughtful and necessary for both the baby and the mother. Motherhood and breastfeeding are among the many popular themes, and there are many works of art glorifying breast-feeding. The masterpiece of famous Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci «Litta Madonna» (is in Fig. 1) is used by Dzhachaev (2000) as a principle of visibility in his book. Thus, the author introduces the reader to art and contributes to a deep rethinking of the literary text.

Figure 1: Litta Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci
Litta Madonna by Leonardo da Vinci
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The poem «After all, I was born of a good mother» («Sen chi dag"y ak" syut bergen anasan» (1975) by A.M. Dzhachaev describes the quivering state of a woman whose heart generously responds to the small joys and sorrows of her children, because the feelings of mothers are holy, they come from the depths of the soul:

Sen yashlany shat gyorseng – shat bolasan,

Sen olany pashman gyorseng – panasan,

Tangdan turup tang yulduzdaj yanasan,

Sen chi dag"y ak" syut bergen anasan! (Dzhachaev, 2001)

If you see children happy – you are happy,

If you find them sad – you will wilt,

Getting up early in the morning, you shine like an early star,

After all, you are the mother who gave white milk to drink!

The poet describes in detail the everyday chores of the mother, recreating the symbolic image of a caring mother: Ajlanasan turup barmak" uchlag"a / You are walking having stood on the tiptoe, Ajnutdinni yuvurg"anyn yabasan / You tucked a blanket around Ajnutdin, Ajnutdinni yuvurg"anyn yabasan / You kiss Gyulzakhra’s forehead.

The taste of breast milk is the taste of infancy, it is the smell of the mother. It is protection and inviolability. Russian writer Sergey Alekseev in his story «Khlebozory» (1990) clearly demonstrates it: «Like all military children, I sucked at my mother’s breast until almost three years old and therefore remembered it well and remembered the taste of milk. But it was not just a taste, such as the taste of bread or the taste of cow's milk. I felt that a powerful stream of heat and light was entering into me and I was all warmed and filled with this heat and light and some other exultant state that cannot be called a rude word – satiety. I remembered my attitude to my mother's breast at that time very well: it seemed that it was a part of me, that I could not live without this source, just as I could not live without my head or torso…

When I said goodbye to my mother for the first time, I felt a momentary shock and remembered that state. And I felt for a moment the hot and bright stream, its heat warming my face. I didn't want this feeling to end, but it was too late: the German motorcycle roared, sending out a stream of smoke, and tore me away from my mother (Alekseev, 2008)

Motherhood is life-creating, it is a mission given to a woman from the birth. The maternal feeling manifests itself in selfless devotion to her child, infinite love for him and affection, in sleepless nights spent. In this sense, the poetry of A.M. Dzhachaev is particularly instructive, as it finds a kind of distinctive poetic reflection of the theme of morality, devotion to the centuries-old moral foundations. Patterns of behavior that have been embedded in society since ancient times of humanity are revealed in it truthfully and artistically convincingly. In the poem «Sweet Relationship between Mother and Child» («Ana-baladagy Tatyvluk», 1990), the poet raises the problem of modern mothers who do not want to breastfeed their children. Dzhachaev (2001) believes that the close relationship between mother and child is built in everyday actions prescribed by the laws of nature, ignoring which leads to its rupture.

Emchek syuyup yash jylaj, yash o'kyure,

SHo jylavnu Er eshite, Kyok gyore …

Ana busa yashg"a, emchek ichegen,

Emdirmege syujmej syutlyu emchegin,

Emchek tyugyul yash avzuna alag"an,

Emizlikli shisha bere balag"a. <…>

Ne busa da alda jimik ajtardaj

Tatyvluk" yok" g'ali ana-balada.

K"ak"ak" jyrdan ana mag'ryum k"alg"andyr,

Bala mag'ryum k"alg"an jimik emchekden

Desiring / breast milk /, the child is torn from crying,

The Earth hears, the Sky sees this cry ...

But mother of the baby that should drink breast milk,

She does not want to give breast filled with milk.

The child doesn’t take the breast in his mouth,

He is given a glass bottle. <...>

Whatever it is, we cannot, as before, say

About the close relationship between mother and child.

Probably mother was deprived of lullabies,

Just like a child / now / deprived of / breast milk /

British statesman and politician, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Sir Winston L. Spencer-Churchill stated that «There is no finer advertisement for any community than putting milk into babies». The considered works of A. M. Dzhachaev indicate that breastfeeding is not only a biological process necessary for physical growth and development; it is an important period in infancy for establishing strong spiritual connection between mother and child.

The Moral and Ethical Significance of the «Maternal» Poetry of A.M. Dzhachaev

In contrast to the generally accepted images of children presented in the works of Kumyk literature, the poetry of A.M. Dzhachaev reflects images of negative characters who have lost their sense of respect for their mother, after having crossed the time of childhood. The problem of ingratitude, indifference and spiritual callousness towards the mother finds its poetic meaning in the works «A Cheap Tombstone» («Uchuz syn»), «A Mother Buried Alive» («Savlaj gyomyulgen ana»), « Let's honor the old people» («Ayajyk" k"artlany, ayajyk" »), «Miserable» («Yazyk"»), «The Mother's Heart» («Ana yurek»), «The Greybeard’s Fear» («K"artny k"ork"unchu») and many others.

By exposing human vices, the poet situationally demonstrates the moral problems that mothers face in life. As a rule, the author embodies the image of an ungrateful child in the sons.

In the poem «To the Son Who Doesn’t Cry After the Death of his Mother» («Anasy o'lgende jylamag"ajg"an ulang"a», 2000) the vile, according to the author, behavior – indifference to the death of the mother is reflected. Dzhachaev (2001) expresses his attitude through the people opinion condemning his son: Shonu og"ar betlegende birevler / San da germej sangyp alg"an saburdan (When others rebuked him for it / Not taking it seriously, ignored them calmly).

Ana o'lgen – onu k"ajg"y basmag"an,

Ana o'lgen – onu bavru bishmegen,

Ana yok"luk" ya yuregin k"ysmag"an.

YAda onu gyozyunden chyk" tyushmegen

Mother died – he is not depressed by sorrow,

Mother died – he’s not very upset

And his heart is not shrinking because his mother is no more alive,

And even the dewdrop did not fall from his eyes.

According to the statement of Honore’de Balzac, the heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. The work «The Mother's Heart» («Ana Jurek») reflects the fate of a blind woman abandoned by her son. Now she sees him only in a dream, the reality is harsh and cruel: he will never hug her, will not lend a helping hand.

Jyllar getip, yash nart bola,

Ana busa bek k"art bola.

Yashy tashlap pak"yr bola,

Gyozyu k"ajta, sok"ur bola. (Dzhachaev, 2000)

The years have passed, the child grows up,

And the mother is aging very much.

Abandoned by her son, she becomes miserable,

The eye squints, she became blind.

«This work, written in the form of couplets («ekillikler»), seemingly simple in compositional terms, has a strong emotional impact on the reader. And here a big role is played by bright, full-sounding rhymes (kyomek – gyolek, gyormejler – yormejler, ashdan – yashdan and so on). Drawing the reader’s attention to certain details («they’ll either bring a scarf or a nightdress»), the author shows how attentive and caring people are to the heroine who have no family ties with her. The poet often uses such details to indicate the global nature of the problem: « Breaking a tear from a blind eye, / Kneeling on a prayer rug» («Sok"ur gyozden gyoz'yash tyogyup», / Namazlyk"g"a tizden chyogyup»), the mother decides to utter a curse at her son» (Khadzhakaeva, 2018). And although resentment torments the loving mother's heart, nevertheless, the mother cannot curse the son and instead of it she pronounces best wishes to him.

The Kumyk proverb says, «Ana o'lmek – nyuryu syonmek gyozleni», which can be interpreted as: «The death of a mother is equivalent to the loss of vision». A.M. Dzhachaev in his works outlines the world of contrasts, poetically shows the images of mothers and their ungrateful children. Deep grief, immense suffering and relentless pain from the loss of the dearest person – the mother, are expressed in the poems published in 2000. They are «The Grave is Looking» («K"abur k"araj»), «After that, We’re Left Without Mother» («Anabyzsyz k"alg"an song»), «Did’n See» («Girmedim»), «The Song of the Son Who Returned After Burying His Mother» («Anasyn gyomyup k"ajtg"an ulanny gyongyurevyu»), «That Tear» («Sho gyoz'yash»), «Found Her Stroking My Photo» («Suratymny syypay turup tabadym»), «Forgive Me!» («Gechip k"oj!»), «My Heart Says» («Yurek buvara»), «There is no such book» («Sholaj kitap yok"»).

Men o'lgende gyozlerim sen yabarsan, –

Dedi anam gyozyunde yash tyushyure…

Gyoz tyubyunde byurtyuklegen sho gyoz'yash

Bussag'at da yuregimni bishire! (Dzhachaev, 2001)

When I die, you will close my eyes, –

My mother said, dropping a tear…

The tear that rolled like a bead from her eyes,

Burns my heart up to now.

«The tear that still burns the heart» – this is an example of the vivid metaphor that the poet uses to describe inconsolable and piercing pain. The poetics of A.M. Dzhachaev's works is not only the artistic character of texts – it is the author's self-expression, it is the imagery of his thoughts. His language is metaphorical and encourages the reader's mind to note the smallest details of events. More recently, scholars influenced by cognitive metaphor theory have started to regard metaphorical patterns not simply as part of a writer’s individual style but also as a reflection of his or her individual worldview (Gibbs, 2008). Metaphor is a linguistic, and not conceptual, phenomenon. Whatever the intended effect or purpose is, in metaphor we simply use one word or expression instead of another word or expression, rather than one conceptual domain to comprehend another (Kövecses; 2002).

Poetry begins in wanting to make contact with the reality, the truth, of all that surrounds and inhabits us: with the exuberant diversity of a world prodigiously larger than ourselves, or with whatever single being or object claims our attention. Yet, as we approach the world with our words, we become aware, if we are listening intently that the world remains silent. Poetry, which desires communion and speech, is a privileged way to perceive the refusal of the world, at first, to respond, to offer its meaning. It is in the interest of poetry to acknowledge this arresting dumbness, and to ask what the silence itself means, and how it contributes to poetry and to understanding of poetry (Edwards, 2011). The true poetry of Akhmed Dzhachaev brings the reader into contact with the social phenomena of society. Mentally the reader enters into a dialogue with the author, sharing the author's emotional state (joy, happiness, compassion, anticipation, amazement, grief, anger, sadness, despondency and disappointment.

Purpose of the Study

This article aims at researching the moral aspect and poetics of the works of «maternal poetry» by A. M. Dzhachaev. The author raises the problems of the spiritual relationship between mother and child from birth, the mother’s selfless care of the child, raises the problem of abandoned mothers, and also shows the inner experiences of the hero who lost his closest person – the mother. The poet uses different types of epithets (figurative, lyro-epic, lyrical, metaphorical), open and hidden comparisons, trails, among which metaphors, metonyms and personifications are popular.

Research Methods

For this study, the authors used a theoretical analysis of the scientific literature on the subject of research, a descriptive method, which includes observations, interpretations, comparisons, generalizations; a descriptive and analytical method based on the description and analysis of individual works of art that help to reveal the style of presentation characteristic of a particular author.


For this study, the authors used a theoretical analysis of the scientific literature on the subject of research; a descriptive method, which includes observations, interpretations, comparisons, generalizations; a descriptive and analytical method based on the description and analysis of individual works of art that help to reveal the style of presentation characteristic of a particular author.


Thus, by the example of the studied works, we see how keenly the poet is concerned with the problem of a proper attitude to mothers. The work of A.M. Dzhachaev guides the reader to the truth, portraying the real picture of life that cannot leave anyone indifferent. The author regards the problem of the relationship between mother and child throughout life, influencing the reader with the ideological and artistic diversity and richness of the native language. The system of images of poetry by A.M. Dzhachaev is diverse, testifies to a high sense of respect and love for his mother, while at the same time, the poet attempts to embody both positive and negative character traits. His works not only express the author’s attitude to the problem, but also arouse awakening feelings of joy, pride, awe, and sometimes shame and disappointment in relation to the actions of heroes. The ethic position of A.M. Dzhachaev does not accept the moral foundations of his heroes, often comes into direct conflict with them. As we can see from the example of the works of A.M. Dzhachaev, the author’s songs of the woman-mother are especially touching.

Poet Bagautdin Adzhiev, Secretary of the Union of writers of Dagestan, describes Dzhachaev (2015) as “a deeply conscientious person with a world of worries and hopes”. The poet poses various questions and answers them emotionally, reflects on the new time in «Dzhachaev» way, and searches for moral benchmarks in a period of general lack of spirituality (Dzhachaev, 2015).


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Akamov, A. T., & Bekeeva, A. M. (2021). Poetic Interpretation Of The Moral Values In The Poetry By Akhmed Dzhachaev. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization - ISCKMC 2020, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 148-157). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.20